Leith Community Pottery

Andy Lang - The Potter of Leith profile

Project by Andy Lang - The Potter of Leith

Leith Community Pottery


raised in 711 days



I need your help to fund a space giving free access to the therapeutic benefits of working with clay to those living with poor mental health

“Working with clay is therapeutic – it allows you to focus solely on the task in hand and so de-stress from other things. Definitely a positive impact on mental well-being.”

Please help us fund this exciting and creative project so we can support those living with poor mental health.

And remember to check out the Rewards options for supporting this project! More Reward images at bottom of page, including New Rewards.

The Potter of Leith

I gained my degree in Ceramics in 1983 (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee) and began teaching pottery in a Community Education setting  around 1986.

Since the mid-eighties, I’ve been living with intermittent episodes of mental ill-health myself, experienced a deluge of medications and therapies and have eventually found a way to manage things. So I chose to put that experience to some use and took work in Social Care around 2006.

I worked with mental health, addictions, multiple complex needs and homelessness, gaining SVQ 3 in Health and Social Care along the way, until I was made redundant in summer 2018.

But all this time, I never gave up teaching pottery. In the blood!


The Plan

Leith Community Pottery will:

1. Offer tuition in pottery techniques, provided by myself and, on occasion, guest specialists.

Several places on these classes will be offered free of charge to those with mental health conditions, the marginalised, the isolated, those living with dementia, those with certain physical health conditions likely to benefit from gentle exercise and other disenfranchised groups.

Referrals will be taken from NHS professionals and 3rd sector organisations, with whom I have strong links.

To be clear, I will not be seeking NHS contracts, simply building referral links to offer a service entirely free of charge.

2. Offer work space to developing and emerging practitioners at affordable rates.

3. Allow me to produce and develop my own work, and my teaching skills.

4. Be home to a propane-fired reduction kiln, a highly specialised form of firing which has largely disappeared in our cities, there being only one other in Edinburgh, to my knowledge. Reduction allows the development of colours and finishes largely impossible in the much more common electric kilns generally in use. It is an ancient and fast-disappearing technique.

Leith Community Pottery is now set up as a Social Enterprise CIC (SC637752)

What does that mean?

Simply put, any profits generated from the project will be put back into the project for the benefit of the community. It will pay me a wage, but not accumulate wealth on my behalf.

Profits will be used to increase the capacity for offering free access to the target groups, either by enabling me to reduce the number of paid places available whilst increasing the number of free places, or by investing in further equipment in order to take on larger groups.

There is much evidence of the positive impact of creativity and participation in groups on mental health and well being. The mindfulness and focus has certainly had benefits for me.

Follow the link: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/oct/11/contribution-arts-make-health-wellbeing?CMP=share_btn_link

The social impact and efficacy of involvement with Leith Community Pottery will be robustly monitored by gathering feedback directly from participants on paper and electronically and also by maintaining effective relationships with Community Link Workers and other professionals.

Progress updates will be posted on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuiton – The Offer

Initially, I will offer 2 throwing classes per week, each for 6 people, with 1 free place on each reserved for NHS/ and 3rd sector referrals.

There will also be 1 hand-building class per week, for 12 people, with 2 free spaces reserved.

Also, a post-beginners class, for 12, which will mix wheel and hand-building techniques and have 2 free spaces.

As the project develops, I will increase the number of free places available, aiming for a ratio of 2:1 paying/non-paying in all classes.



In May 2019, I ran a 2 day event for the SMHAF at Leith Academy, which included a 2 hour hand-building workshop, attended by 10 absolute beginners. A huge success!

Funded with a grant of £550 from NHS Scotland.


“Having something tactile is great. People can focus on something if they’re feeling anxious or worried. Creativity is really beneficial in itself.”

"Fantastic, brilliant, really liked tutor and location."

“Best thing is the way creativity engages the brain, diverting from internal thoughts and feelings and providing an outlet.”

“Being creative really helps to divert my thoughts; really helps to be positive.”

“Wonderfully distracting activity, thoughts purely in the moment.”

“Lovely host/teacher (Andy). Well planned activity & fabby group of people to create with.”

“There are a lot of benefits for positive mental health from pottery. It is very therapeutic to create something with your hands.”

“I’m sure it would be very therapeutic to do this more regularly – it’s quite meditative working with your hands.”

“Working with clay is therapeutic – it allows you to focus solely on the task in hand and so de-stress from other things. Definitely a positive impact on mental well-being.”

“I wanted to do something and speak to others. I enjoyed my time here very much.”

“Fantastic wee pottery workshop! Thanks for running it.”

“Relaxing, enjoyable experience for an anxiety sufferer. Great facility.”

“Really positive experience. Great tutor and great venue.”

“Unicorntastic! Enjoyed.”

Work By Former Students

The Studio

I’ve secured premises in Leith, Edinburgh, and am planning to set up a studio to produce my own work and to offer tuition, workshops and work space rental for other potters.

Leith Business Centre, Marine Esplanade, EH6 7LU

Leith Community Pottery is now established as a Social Enterprise (CIC 36), and I hope to equip it with:

  • 6 potters wheels
  • A gas fired reduction kiln, 14 cubic feet
  • A glaze spray booth with compressor
  • 12 banding wheels
  • 12 rolling pins, potters knives and other tools for hand-building
  • A range of plaster and bisque moulds
  • A range of hand-mixed glazes and slips
  • All necessary raw materials and colouring oxides
  • Sieves, brushes and plastic ware
  • 2  8ft x 4ft  work tables and seating
  • Shelving and storage units
  • Damp cupboard

And a range of other necessary fittings and equipment - all reassuringly expensive!

The Rewards

Every contributor will be entitled to claim a Reward Voucher to the value of their donation. The vouchers will be valid until 31st August 2021 and will be redeemable against either tuition or a range of ceramic pieces produced in the workshop. Vouchers can be used as gifts if so requested.

Tuition Prices:

1-2-1 throwing - £40/hour

Throwing Class - £360 for 10 x 2.5 hour classes (max 6 people)

Handbuilding Class - £240 for 10 x 2.5 hour class (max 12 people)

The Products offered as rewards are high fired stoneware, mainly using wood ash glazes made from the burning of locally sourced, recycled wood and are exclusively made by Andy Lang, The Potter Of Leith. They are made to the highest standards and all glazes have been developed and mixed in the studio.

Robust quality control measures are employed......

Please contact me directly: [email protected]  

or leave a message if you have any queries about rewards.

Examples of available products are shown below. The gallery will be regularly updated with a range of domestic ware and unique, one-off pieces.  


Mugs - £20 donation each. 9cm high, 250ml.  Available in pale blue ash, rich iron red or iron ash (left to right).

Ramen Set - Bowl, £30, set with plate,£50. Bowl 16.5cm diameter, 450ml. Available in rich iron red, pale blue ash or iron ash.

Ramen Set - Cutaway Bowl, £30. Set with plate, £50. Available in pale blue ash or iron ash.

Cutaway Ramen Bowl, iron ash. Plate available. £30, £50 with plate.

Salt Pig - £40. 9cm opening. Available in rich iron red, pale blue ash or iron ash.

Goblets - £20 each. 11cm high. 200ml. Available in copper green ash (left) rich iron red, pale blue ash or iron ash.

Butter Bells - £40 each. 15cm diameter saucer. Available in rich iron red, pale blue ash or iron ash.

Copper and Cobalt Bottle (one-off piece) - £250. 37cm high.

Iron and Chrome Ash Storage Jar (one-off piece) - £250. 34cm high.

Black and Gold Storage Jar - £60. 14cm high. 2 available.

Green Ash/Rich Red Iron Platter - £100. 25cm diameter. 1 available.

Black, Gold and Rich Red Iron Platter - £120. 26cm diameter. 1 available.

Deity - one-off piece, 12cm high. £150.

New Rewards

Tiny Jugs 10cm high approx. £20 donation. Choose your colour.

1 Litre Jugs - £60 Donation. 3 colours available.

New Mug Design / 1 Litre Jug

Jug - £60 donation

Mugs - £20 donation. Rich Red Iron glaze.

Mugs - £25 Donation. Rich Red Iron with copper/cobalt Metalica Negre glaze. 

2 Hour Taster Sessions - £50 Donation

Any Questions?

Please feel free to use the 'Contact Project' function if you have any questions about products or any aspect of the proposal.

Thanks and big hugs going out to all who have helped me put this campaign together, and to little Jacob, who managed to stay out of the light box, mostly.......

Finally, for those who aren’t aware, The Water of Leith is a waterway that flows for 24 miles, from its source in the Pentland Hills, through the heart of Edinburgh, to its outflow into the Firth of Forth at Leith. 

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